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Re: laevigata

  • Subject: Re: laevigata
  • From: "Bill Meyer" <njhosta@hotmail.com>
  • Date: Sat, 27 Oct 2001 12:38:03 -0400

Hi Charles,
          It's possible, of course that it is a hybrid, but what's a species
and what isn't is a constant source of debate in all plants and animals.
There doesn't seem to be any hard and fast rules that can be applied. One
version I've heard is that there has to be a self-sustaining wild
population, and that this determines it. This approach seems faulty to me
because it doesn't allow for man's interaction with the environment. For
example, let's say a farmer thought his wife would like hostas in the garden
in Japan about, oh, 500 years ago. So he brought home every "species" he
could find, the bees made crosses, the seedlings included some hybrids, the
farmer's wife saved the most unusual (which were probably the hybrids), and
in time had a few different good hybrids in the yard. After they died, the
farm withered away and returned to natural woodland, so that by 200 years
ago there was no trace that the farmer ever lived there other than the "wild
population" of hostas that spread from what was once the garden. In three
hundred years they may have started to look similar enough that a trained
observer might think they were a naturally evolved form.
        In the near future DNA testing will become fairly cheap, and we will
learn much from the results. Whether it will settle the issue of what is a
species, and what isn't, remains to be seen. We will certainly learn a lot
more about them then.
        Laevigata in the US is probably a collection of different seedlings
now, and not clones of the same individual that George introduced here. When
yingeri arrived here much seed was grown and sold under that name. The plant
that George passed around in the early nineties did set seed OP fairly well.
Although there were a lot of pods, there wasn't a really high number of
seeds in a pod, maybe ten or so. From two fairly mature scapes I got over a
hundred seedlings. I've had a piece of that plant (the one from George) here
for six years and it set pods pretty much every year, including the few
crosses I tried on it.

.........Bill Meyer
----- Original Message -----
From: <ctuttle39@juno.com>
To: <njhosta@hotmail.com>
Sent: Saturday, October 27, 2001 11:50 AM
Subject: laevigata

> Bill,
> Thanks for your help and thoughts on laevigata.  Several folks who have
> responded have made comments that many consider laevigata not to be a
> species (which it apparently was once thought to be) but some kind of a
> yingerii cross.  One wrote: {I don't think it is a species, and if I
> remember right, I think George says the same in an old Journal article.
> It is probably a natural hybrid with yingerii as one of the parents.}
> In spite of all this, I like the plant.
> Thanks,
> Charles
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